The sad death briefly exposed a glimpse into a hidden world of Auckland's homeless. Out of sight of the morning joggers, the lunchtime picnickers and the weekend sports teams lives a community loosely governed by a hierarchy, rules and cultural etiquette.
They're bonded by a desire to hide away from the city centre and out of the public eye — and by their fight to survive on society's margins.
Off a well-beaten, leafy track where a parade of spandex figures leisurely jog, a man sleeps in the bush metres from a dead body.
His tent is pitched just deep enough into the thicket of swamp oak and European ash tree to be hidden from the public, but close enough to the path to easily stumble in at night.
It is surprisingly private for a site so close to a daily thoroughfare of tourists, students, and workers seeking a route home under the pines.
But unlike most mornings, today he has visitors - the police.
They discover him while surveying a scene where a elderly man's body had been dragged out of a shallow stream in the Auckland Domain bushlands just before 9am.
Speaking on the Saturday morning of August 3, the man in the red tent admitted he was rattled by the death.
He says he was woken to the news by an officer who had scraped through the ferns and scrub to reach him.
"I got home pretty early last night. I don't know what happened. I was out to it because I'm on medication," the man says.
"It scares me a bit [the police presence]. I've got nowhere to go. It ain't got nothing to do with me, I can tell you that.
"I had heard voices down there, people down there. About seven days ago but I didn't want to get involved. I don't know who they are.
"A lot of joggers go past here and people from Parnell. Students come here all the time."
The man, who asked not to be identified, tells the Herald on Sunday he's been living in the expansive bushland in the north-west pocket of the Auckland Domain for about a year.
He is one of a number of people who have gravitated there; for shelter, a small space to call their own, a home away from the public glare of a city centre doorway.
They have developed a hierarchy. There are ground rules for those who choose to stay. A hidden community in the centre of our biggest city.
The Domain is Auckland's oldest public park, spanning a 75-hectare block covering the crater of the Pukekawa volcano.
Death came on a windy, winter morning. Former New Zealand Herald journalist Murray Ralph Mason was identified as the man dead. In his later years, Murray had become reclusive and estranged from his family.
The investigation into how Mason ended up found face down in a Domain stream is ongoing. Police say a number of people have been spoken to, but they will not go into details.
But the death has brought unwelcome attention to a community which strives to be invisible.
The well-manicured gardens are maintained by Auckland Council, and contain the city landmarks of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the century-old Domain Wintergardens greenhouses.
Duck ponds and cherry flower groves line an intricate network of walking paths across the park.
Amid the grandeur there is a bleaker service the domain grounds provide - a home.
"People live around here all the time, they live all over the bush," the man in the tent says. "This area, up the top area, they live everywhere.
"They're homeless. Where else are they going to live? They're not going to live in the gutter?
Lifewise charitable trust community worker Kat'z Ruatara has first-hand knowledge of the rules, expectations and tricks of sleeping in the Domain after more than a decade of calling it home during the 90s and 2000s.
Today, she keeps tabs on several rough sleepers who call the Domain home, making sure their visits into the city for community meals don't become so infrequent as to raise alarm for their welfare.
Above all, the question of why a rough sleeper would choose the Domain over the CBD is clear in Ruatara's mind.
"Unseen. Out of sight, out of mind sort of thing. It's more like a retreat, away from people," Ruatara says.
Lifewise is one of a string of charities and local, central and quasi-Government agencies attempting to deal with the growing homelessness problem in New Zealand. Auckland is New Zealand's ground zero with an estimated 800 living on the streets or in cars.
Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mark Goldsmith says Auckland City Mission is in contact with the transient community sleeping rough in the Domain.
A MSD case manager was on hand at the mission to begin the process of getting people into housing, Goldsmith said.
But he says "the final decision on where someone stays is ultimately their choice, and sometimes people choose not to seek assistance from us".
Auckland City Mission's general manager of social service Helen Robinson says the Domain bush area is just one of many spots that people sleep around Auckland.
"The Auckland City Mission's Outreach team, who walk the city streets to engage with people who are homeless, respond to callouts about people sleeping in the Domain bush area when passersby see them," Robinson said.
It is an age-old problem. Where do they go if they have no home? What use is there in moving them on?
Ruatara says the Domain is attractive to those who wish to remain anonymous.
"Those that want to be known, they go to the common areas, the common beats," she says.
"But all those that just don't want to be bugged, don't want to be harassed by family, don't want to be found.
"They could be escaping something and don't want to be identified - whether it be the law, the family, whatever you know.
"I used to run away from my boyfriend. I could run across to the Domain and he wouldn't be able to find me.
"But sometimes it's just for peace of mind. Or being lost. Rather being lost than found."
Despite its urban setting, the bushland in the Domain is dense and rises out of hilly, undulating ground.
It is difficult to look far into the scrub from the clearly marked paths such as Lovers Lane, Centennial Walkway and the Domain Walk.
According to Ruatara, however, the tree cover is not what it once was.
Walking through the official paths, you encounter sporadic bare sections of bush, where a seeming makeshift path has been trampled down.
Whether this is the work of rough sleepers carving their own routes in the bush, or a concerted effort to open up the space by council gardeners is unclear.
"To live in the Domain now you've got to have a shelter, you've got to have a windproof, rainproof shelter," Ruatara said of the use of tents in the Domain.
"You can't just make up a f***ing tarp any more, whereas you could back in the day. But these days because they mow all the trees out and chop all the trees down just so they can see in there.
"My boys [living in the Domain] keep me informed all the time. Like we have mealtimes in the city and as long as they come in for their dinners I know they're still alive.
"After they have been missing for a month or two I start getting worried. A lot of them come and visit me because they need help with something."
Lifewise communications specialist Aditya Kundalkar says tents such as the red one used by the lone camper are in no way just handed out upon request.
"We don't actually have a stock [of tents]," Kundalkar says, "but it is something that someone might gift."
Ruatara says a hierarchy has developed among the Domain's hidden people. There are rules and punishments for those who err. There is a kind of a cultural etiquette.
And competition for the best spots in the bush is lively.
It means many homeless who meet in the city might be cagey about discussing their location in the Domain.
"No one wants to give up their spot because it jeopardises yourself," Ruatara says.
"But if someone tends to find your spot and wants to lay down the rules, lay down the ground rules, then seniority rules.
"First person there, you know. But if we all find that you're disrespecting a common area or a public space, you're booted out too.
"Like one of the bros, you found his area. If you were around there and you just made a whole lot of mess. He would get his other bro to pull your tent down and have it all wrapped up and tell you to go."
A short distance from the Domain lies the Symonds Street cemetery - a sad bookend to the parklands, separated from it by the North-Western Motorway, and at times serving as a place of banishment for rough sleepers from the Domain.
"You see people doing things out of turn, or something happens with them you get punished, basically, would be the word," Ruatara says.
"Not cleaning up your mess, harassing the public.
"You would get severely reprimanded. 'Don't do that - you'd get told once, twice. The third time you're over there by the graves getting dealt with'."
If the bushland is a "retreat" for Auckland CBD's rough sleepers, the first destination for those new to the region is the Grandstand backing onto park Rd at the opposite end of the park.
The Grandstand overlooks five rugby fields leading up the War Memorial Museum atop the volcanic cone.
"It's the first thing they know: Grandstand. They see it on TV, Christmas in the Park, you can't miss it," Ruatara says.
"In my day you used to be able to use the inside of it [the clubrooms] upstairs, because it's a sports club.
"But unlike the downstairs, the toilet, the rooms seemed to be open 24 hours. So it was good. In my day we had 30 people living there, and we were just one big family. There were a lot of streeties there."
The front of the grandstand used to have elevated wooden seats which served as a kind of roof for those looking for shelter. A blanket draped over would serve as a windbreaker.
Today, they have been replaced by large, clean, flat concrete steps. But there is still clear evidence of rough sleepers who call the Grandstand home.
A row of neatly packed away garbage bags on the top step represent the worldly possessions of those who live there.
Ruatara says the homeless avoid the area during the day while university students and workers filter though for lunch.
Unwanted attention is likely to see them moved on, she says.
Which brings us back to that old question of "moving them on".
Under Auckland Council's Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw (2013) it is illegal to erect a tent over or across a public place.
But there is apparently little appetite to hound those looking for a quiet place to rest. Auckland Council team manager compliance response Max Wild says his team have not recently been to the Domain.
"Our priorities are more focused on assisting rough sleepers in our city areas where there can be issues in terms of items causing obstruction to public places."
Police area commander for Auckland Central Inspector Gary Davey says sleeping in parks or streets is not a criminal offence.
"Police are unable to act unless there are public disorder issues or there are complaints relating to antisocial behaviour or other police issues," he says.
As of May this year 800 people were estimated to be living without shelter in Auckland each night, 43 per cent of them Māori. The numbers were collected during last year's Homeless Count, run by Auckland Council and the Housing First Auckland Collective.
The total count, as at September 17, 2018, had 3674 people considered homeless Auckland-wide - one-third of them children. That number captures those in temporary accommodation, as well as those who live on the streets.
Budget 2019 provided $283 million to fund and maintain over 2800 short-term Transitional Housing places throughout New Zealand.
The man in the tent in the Domain says he will be staying put - despite risks that might not usually be considered.
"You don't think I like living down here, do you? I don't like living down here. Not because of the people but because of the trees.
"If one of them falls, you'll be coming here and saying 'I know this fella who has no head'. I just got here [this spot] last week but I've been homeless here for about a year - living up the top.
"I went into town and I didn't like the town scene."